Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

History

First Advisor

Hurlburt, Holly

Abstract

The Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal order within Northern Ireland that has branches across the former British Empire. Since its formation in 1795, it has been described as a brotherhood, definitively male with a triumphalist parade culture maintaining Protestant `civil and religious liberties' by celebrating the victory of King William III at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. My dissertation explores the role of gender within Orangeism. Notions of `brotherhood', `sisterhood', and `family' in the lodges are explored, as are the roles of women within Orangeism. In particular, the `family' nature of Orangeism has played a major role in the inclusion of women and children in Orange demonstrations and parades. Evangelical beliefs in women's moral superiority and the necessity of her influence over her family and community provided women with a public presence via Orange processions and female lodges. Men were forced to accept their utility as political mothers who could inculcate Orange values in children and in the wider community through their influence and philanthropic work. In short, Orangeism was never simply a brotherhood; the familial metaphor enabled women to gain influence as `sisters' and to perform various politicized (and sometimes militarized) domestic roles within the public space provided by the order. Orangeism gave them a political base from which to petition, challenge governmental policies they deemed unfair, and to threaten or commit violence when peaceful methods failed.

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